Under option in: India (English and Hindi Language)
THE WRONG DOOR
It is the 1960s. The narrator is a young boy just leaving primary school. He is going into Year 7 (the sixth grade) at the church run school in Senlis. An only child raised without his father, he is a solitary figure. As he says his awkward goodbyes to his best friend, he remembers the life he has already lived – you’re never too young to have memories…. His are his class and his friends, walks through the woods, fishing in the river. The dog Mickie. Uncles and aunts, grandparents from the North, old spinsters who work with his mother. And books too. The ones he can leaf through in the library at the manor house next door. The ones that belong to Madame Fiévet in the bookshop.
Starting at a new school is going to throw everything apart. The world he is going into has no time for daydreamers and gentle souls. He will have to learn to be different. These years in high school are when we’re made to put an end to childhood, on the grounds that everyone has to grow up and move on. That’s life, they say. Everyone says it together. Even people who love you. Others hammer the point home. So you smack into this life and it hurts, but you bite back your tears. One day you realise your heart has hardened. Too late? Sometimes all it takes is a poem, a few words from a book for the feelings to come flooding back. And for you to be saved.
Xavier Houssin is a literary journalist. He has had three novels published: La ballade de Lola, 16, rue d’Avelghem and Le premier pas suffit, and one factual account: La mort de ma mère. He is also a poet, and all his work is haunted by the subject of loss. His last text, Montée des cendres, was published, in 2010, by Caractères who also published his first collection at the age of seventeen.
La rentrée scolaire va tout jeter à bas. Le monde où il pénètre ne veut pas des rêveurs, ni des doux. Au collège, il va devoir apprendre à être différent. Ces années de collège sont des années où l’on vous fait mettre à mort l’enfance, sous prétexte qu’il faut grandir, passer de l’autre côté. C’est la vie, disent-ils. Tous le répètent ensemble. Même ceux qui vous aiment. Les autres enfoncent le clou. Alors, on se cogne, on souffre, on ravale ses larmes. Un jour, on s’aperçoit qu’on a le coeur durci. Trop tard ? Il suffit quelquefois d’un poème, de quelques mots d’un livre pour que reviennent les émotions. Et pour qu’on soit sauvé.